rix_scaedu (rix_scaedu) wrote,

Tomato, Tomato

I wrote this to aldersprig's prompt "Nai's world, something about the occupiers and what they have learned that was unexpected and how their "experts" deal with it."

“I do not see,” said Assistant Territorial Governor Tremaine of the Congressional States’ Concession in Tang-ji stiffly, “why it is necessary for the Legion to conduct its search in our territory.”

“Monsieur Tremaine,” the black Legion officer spoke with the distinctive accent of a native francais speaker, “we have been missing that patrol for ten years. Your own military believe in not leaving a man behind, surely you can respect that in your allies?”

“I understand that,” Japheth Tremaine assured him while wondering why the Legion had sent a Zanji to see him. It was common knowledge that the Tremaines of Rose Arbour at Ardenvale in Senopta County had been slave owners right up until the Federal Congressional government had forced manumission on the unwilling states. He knew that his counterpart in the Francais Concession, Eric de Amiens, knew that and so had probably chosen this Major du Barry for this task in order to tweak his opposite number’s nose. “I don’t understand why you wish to search within our Concession.”

“The territorial boundaries had not been set during the transitional period,” pointed out Major du Barry, “and the patrol was ordered to reconnoitre up the Ruixin River valley in search of troops supporting the old regime. At the time there was no border bisecting the river and, as we cannot find them in our half of the valley, we must presume that they made it into what is now your half before whatever happened to them, happened.”

“Of course, that’s perfectly logical.” Tremaine gave an apologetic wave of his hand and mentally kicked himself for assuming that this man thought like the ill-educated Zanji at home instead of like the cultured Francais officer he was. “I’m afraid we have very little information on that part of the Concession, it’s all very minor rural villages only barely above subsistence farming. It’s no drain on the public purse but there’s no profit in it either.”

“Inconvenient,” acknowledged the major smoothly, “but might your administration have inherited the old regime’s local archive? We’ve found some useful maps and records in those we’ve acquired.”

“Actually,” said Tremaine, “one of my people, Alexander Burton, was rabbiting on the other day about some old maps he’d come across in the local files. I told him to burn them when he said they were geomancer’s work, but then he told me how much good ones might be worth to the right people back home.”

“We prefer to translate those as ‘survey maps’,” observed Major du Barry. “In my experience they show distances and local features at the very least. That information could be very helpful in our search. Might I have a look at Monsieur Burton’s discovery?”

“I don’t see why not,” Tremaine smiled. “Part of my job is to get rid of anything tainted with sorcery, but if we could show that in this case the ‘magic’ is just a good set of surveyor’s tools and the skills to use them then that opens up other possibilities, doesn’t it?”

Tags: major du barry, tang-ji
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